Undergraduate BE Board:Archives/2008 platforms

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On this page, you can find information regarding the upcoming elections for the undergrad board. All sophomores and juniors in course 20 are eligible to run for one position. Candidates may not apply for more than one position. We encourage you to submit a platform for consideration, either by adding to this page or emailing the current board, at busybeboard AT mit.edu

Elected positions

  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary


Platforms are meant to be open-ended. Information you may wish to provide includes your name, class year, why you wish to hold an elected position, and any qualifications you may have.


Dawn Spelke

Dawn Spelke

Hi BE students! My name is Dawn Spelke and I am currently a Junior in Course 20. I am running for President of the BE Undergraduate Board because I am passionate about the future of our major and because it is a position for which I am particularly well-suited. I have been deeply involved with the creation of this board since its inception last Spring when I, along with some other members of the Junior and Senior classes, met with graduate students and faculty to discuss the development of an undergraduate organization. We hoped that the Board would serve both to foster a community among the students as a means for student-faulty interaction. We have come a long way over the past year in reaching our goals, but there is still a lot that can be done. Some of the accomplishments that I have been part of include formalizing the mission of the Board, forming ties with many faculty in the department and gaining a great deal of support for the Board, designing floor plans for the new undergraduate lounge, organizing study breaks, rallying for undergraduate representation on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and starting the Associate Advisor Program. I have attended numerous meetings and met with many members of the BE community, so I know exactly what being the President involves, and it is a position that I would love to hold for the next year.

If elected, I plan to continue all of the great things that we have accomplished, but also to build up the Board with new events, new projects, and new ideas. Academically, I would like to see through the implementation of the Associate Advisor Program and the role of undergraduates in developing the BE curriculum. Additionally, I plan on increasing student interaction with graduate students and faculty through study breaks with particular labs and core professors. Workshops aimed at providing help in post-graduation decisions, such as applying to med school or jobs, will also be developed. Socially, I will plan more study breaks, continue to help in the design of the lounge (ordering furniture, decorating, etc.), and generally promote community development as we are truly an amazing group of students. Finally, I will promote involvement in the Board as the more people providing input, the better it will be. This is our opportunity to shape BE undergraduate life at MIT, and I plan on making the most of it.

Iny Jhun

Iny Jhun

Name: Iny Jhun
Year: 2009
Interests: Guitar, piano
Advisor: Professor Lauffenburger

My name is Iny and I am a junior, running for President. When Professor Lauffenburger told me about the new Board last semester, I was excited about the prospect of facilitating communication and fostering stronger relationships within the BE community. He recommended me to Sasha ('08), and I became involved in the BE Undergraduate Board in the beginning of last semester. It has been extremely rewarding to attend meetings and help organize the Associate Advising Program, Senior Dinner, BE T shirt orders, and study breaks. More and more I realized how much potential the BE Undergraduate Board has to make a difference in the BE community, especially at a time when the Department is in its developing stages. A burst of student growth in a developing department presents an enormous challenge to the BE faculty, and there is a great need for increase in communication between the undergraduates and faculty members. In order for us to effectively voice our concerns and opinions about our major, however, we need to be united in the issues that we want to address as a community. Currently, there is a lack of such unity. Having been involved with the board, I know that what the Board needs most is an experienced leader, and I am confident in my leadership skills and experiences to bring us together as a strong community.

I understand very well the challenges of building a community from scratch. Freshmen year, I was a member of a club that was about to deactivate because of low membership and a divided exec board. Fall semester of sophomore year, I decided to commit myself to resurrecting the club. At the end of the semester we organized a culture show of three hundred attendees in Walker. Through trial-and-error, I learned what entails building a community, as well as how to delegate, motivate others, and run efficient meetings. Most importantly, I learned what it means to be a leader. I am also confident in my ability to work with faculty members, as I worked closely and lead with other great leaders from the MIT community, including Daniel Hastings (Dean of Undergraduate Education) and Kirk Kolenbrander (Vice President for Institute Affairs and Secretary of the Corporation), during MIT's LeaderShape Institute as one of the three nominated student co-facilitators.

My vision is that the Board will make a significant difference in the quality of the BE undergraduate experience and help facilitate the development of the BE curriculum. There are many programs that I would implement with creativity. First, I would widely promote the current Associate Advisor Program, to encourage inter-class interaction. In addition, I recognize the need for a stronger student body voice in bringing to the table the issues at hand, and I plan to organize regular outings/meetings for the associate advisors to share with BE faculty members their experiences. Organizing social events is another priority; BE undergrads, grads, and faculty will have a chance to get to know other in a non-academic setting. I have many ideas ranging from study breaks, class wars, class trips, mixers, movie nights, holiday parties, ice skating night, potluck, talent night, bowling/candle pinning event, etc. To address concerns about Course 20 as quickly as possible, I hope to develop an 'underground guide to Course 20' website to share the wealth of advice on classes and how to get through Course 20--including detailed class and professor evaluations for core classes and electives, advice about various Course 20 roadmaps, etc. I would love to hear more from you how the Board can make our experience as "pioneers" of BE a more enjoyable and meaningful one.

I would like to carry out my vision for the Board with my experiences in leadership, building a community, and working with faculty members. I aim to form a strong, vibrant BE community and I am confident in my ability to lead the BE Undergraduate Board and represent the BE undergraduate community as President. Thank you.


Marta Lynne Milan

Marta Lynne Milan

I’m really excited to potentially be a part of the BE Undergrad Board. Ever since I’ve been Course 20, I’ve wanted to get involved with the department. It’s really important to me that we have a strong group of people bridging the gap between BE students and faculty, keeping each other informed concerning classes, schedules, homework, tests, lectures, etc. A good handful of students have trouble with certain aspects of BE, so as a member of the BE UG Board, I would want to work on a casual tutoring/advice program to help out those who need a bit of homework help or test review. The connection between the BE UG Board and the BE UG Curriculum Council is another aspect of the board that I am very interested in because I favor the idea of having students help shape and improve the future of BE at MIT. Although I’ve only taken a few BE classes so far, I look forward to gaining knowledge and experience throughout my time at MIT to continue enhancing my Course 20 perspective of MIT. Until I take more courses and spend more time with the major, I can always depend on older BE students’ input about professors, classes, and general Course 20 issues. Even though we are all pretty keen on academics, it also is good to have a little fun – which is why I’m really excited to help plan fun study breaks including food, activities, free stuff, and the BE undergrad community. We all chose to stick with Course 20 for one reason or another, so while we work through the classes together, we might as well enjoy ourselves, get to know one another, and take a few breaks to relax and chill out. I’ve thought about having sports games against other majors, paint-balling or bowling study breaks, and (of course) providing lots of free food.

In October I attended an informal BE UG Board meeting because I was curious what goes on, what the board does, and how it does it. I quickly realized how greatly I wanted to be part of the group that helps out Course 20 students in so many different ways. Essentially I became the interim-secretary for the BE UG Board, until the official board gets voted into office. I have also made connections with many BE staff and administrators, which has and could continue to keep communication with the Course 20 student body much more effective and beneficial. Over the past few months with the board, my experience as a leader in my past has kept the BE UG Board meetings on task, productive, and enjoyable. All four years of high school, I was Vice President of my class, which helped me learn how to run meetings efficiently, get perspectives and ideas from all members of the group, relate well with staff/faculty, and make sure that plans get accomplished. This past semester I was outer-social chair for my sorority, and planned many events in collaboration with other groups to have some fun, light-hearted, easy-going breaks from the stresses of MIT. Both of these positions enable me to be a quality candidate for VP of the BE UG Board. I genuinely care about the BE department, and I am prepared to put in a lot of time and effort to both continue and improve the path we’re on.

Thank you.

Emily Jean Onufer
As a sophomore in course 20, I would like to run for the position of vice president. I feel that I am qualified for this job because I have had ample leadership at MIT through my position as secretary on RingComm, orientation coordinator of the class of 2011, and also in the various other activities I participate in. As vice president, I would hope to help improve relations between the BE class and the officers. I want to use my communication and organizational skills to help enact programs that would benefit course 20 students. I enjoy course 20, but I enjoy talking to course 20 students even more and I know that I could improve this organization with my dedication and determination. The duties of the vice president are to essentially support the other officers and help them implement their projects. I would love to be BE vice president. If you see me around, feel free to say hi! :) It would be an honor to participate in this organization. Thanks!

YingFei Li
Hi! My name is YingFei and I am a sophomore majoring in course 20. I am really excited to be running for the BE exec VP. I am very passionate about bioengineering and I have enjoyed all the course 20 classes thus far! I just got a very cool UROP that has been researching on how transcription, signaling and metabolism change during development, in disease and in response to environmental change in the Fraenkel Lab.

I would like to be your VP because I really want to make a difference in the BE society for undergraduates! Be it a FUN, a CLOSE community! As an exec member on the Society of Women Engineering last year, I have acquired some experience of being on the exec board, and of making our BE society a lively community! As a VP, I am definitely committed and will always do my best with organizing activities and running the society effectively for the next 2 terms. To continue the tradition of the BE society, I want to hold course 20 dinners for students and faculty members, in which students can learn more about course 20 and get some advice of what classes to take and how to prepare themselves for their future jobs. In addition, we will continue to hold study breaks, sponsor lots of free food and have speakers come to talk about graduate schools, medical school and various of jobs. Also, I have several new ideas: since course 20 is a fairly new major, what if we organize an FPOP program specially for bioengineering? We can give freshmen a tour of our bioengineering labs, maybe guide them thorough several experiments, giving them a snapshot of how cool bioengineering is! Also, we will have faculty members introduce to them what bioengineering really is about; how is it different from biology and we also have upperclassmen talk about their experience with bioengineering as well as their cool UROPs! Finally, we can introduce them to our BE society, and make them active members of our community. In addition to that, we can hold a networking dinner once or twice a year, we will have people from career office or from various biotech or pharmaceutical companies coming over talk about interview skills and networking skills, then we will have some seniors talk about their job application experience and give their advice to the underclassmen. Then there will be some fun stuff! We can organize a retreat for our board members once or twice a year, while we will have a lot of fun, we can also talk about how we can improve our BE society even better and more exciting. And finally, last term, we had a BE holiday party, and people had a lot of fun there! We can try to organize a BE formal, so that all course 20 people will become more familiar with each other!

So why should you elect a sophomore to be your VP? For one thing, I probably won't be as busy as other juniors and seniors who have a heavy load of course work or are busy applying for jobs, grad schools or med schools. I will have more free time to dedicate to organizing this club and really making use of most of our resources. I have some new ideas and I am very motivated to work with our exec board members to implement these ideas. As VP, I will try my best to assist our president as well as other members to organize activities if they need help. I'd be honored to have the chance to make a difference in our society and would probably stay active until I graduate!

Thank you for your time and I am excited to meet all of you soon!!!


Bernice Huang

Bernice Huang

Hi! I'm Bernice and am a sophomore running for the position of treasurer on our BE student board. First off, I hope to join the board because I really like BE (well, most of the time...)and want to help play a role in shaping the future of the department and the undergraduate experience here at MIT. Inspired by all that the board has done for us already, including everything from organizing events to pushing for curriculum revisions, I have many ideas for what can be accomplished additionally in the present. I am dedicated, reliable, and have already worked on many projects on the board, so I am familiar with our advisers and have plenty of experience, especially with getting things done in the department.

As far as my work as treasurer is concerned, one of my goals this year is to start finding ways to raise money on our own, so we don't have to depend on the department for funding. Although they have been very generous with accepting most of our requests, I'm sure that they would appreciate it if we become financially independent. Additionally, this will allow us even further flexibility in terms of spending for events. However, I understand that the job of treasurer does not only entail managing the account. As a member of the board, I intend to be actively involved in planning events and serving as a liaison to ensure that the ideas and opinions of all undergraduates in the major are heard and taken seriously by the faculty and administration. I'd like to think I'm pretty open and approachable, and I really want to hear your feedback for improving our time here with BE. Also, because we are a relatively small major, I will work towards the strengthening of our BE community. It is important that we build a friendly, collaborative environment, both amongst students and professors, whether it be through well planned mixers or programs.

As you can see, I feel very passionate about all that the board has to offer, and am determined to give my best to see all its potential realized. I'm really looking forward to serving as your treasurer and hope to see you all at our next open BE board meeting!

Alexander Lue
I'm Alexander Lue, and I'd like you to vote for me for treasurer. Since I was a wee toddler, I've been dealing with money all my life. I was acting accountant for my elementary school, and would be frequently called on by class bullies for financial advice on the lunch money they stole from other kids. My claim to the position of treasurer shouldn't be determined my past accomplishments though. Which is why I'd like to point out the fact that my parents are Certified Public Accountants, so I have the heritage of accountants and treasurers in my genes.

In all seriousness, however, I think I'd be qualified for this job, as I've been treasurer for a summer music camp managing a $10,000 budget back in high school, and in college, I've had leadership experience through my positions in my fraternity as pledge social chair, community service chair, and rush publicity chair. As for my platform, I promise to not embezzle. Which, I feel, is very important for any treasurer. And, I guess, in addition, I promise to allocate money for parties, formals, study breaks, and other fun events for the undergraduate class.

Why should you elect me? Well, other than all the aforementioned reasons and my absolutely horrid jokes, I am a sophomore, and I love Course 20, and I really feel that the way I can best give back to this major is by serving in an office. Also, I am a sophomore, so I will have more time to devote to this position, and with my easy courseload, I can put my best effort into this position. Wait. I lied. I'm Course 20. There's no such thing as an easy BE courseload. Well ... I hope you vote for me still. Thanks!

Angela Ratto
Why I am the same as every other candidate:

  • I am, as most seem to be, a sophomore in Course 20.

Why I am different:

  • Well, first off, I am doubling in 18 (with a concentration in 14). So, right off the bat, you know I can add and subtract pretty well.
  • Additionally, I co-founded two clubs in high school, sharing in nearly all administrative, recruitment, and financial responsibilities.
  • My commitments for the semester are minimal. No excess clubs or sports. A nice simple schedule of 4 classes plus 1 BE UROP. I'm not looking to do everything, just do the things I feel passionately about and do them well.
  • My UROP is in the Engelward Lab, whose PI (Prof. Bevin Engelward) spearheaded the formation of 20.109. I've also had a couple of chances

to more personally discuss plans for BE with Professor Linda Griffith, whose contributions to the major are immeasurable. The major point is that I have had some one-on-one exposure to key faculty members, and I not only feel comfortable discussing student suggestions/concerns with them; I really want to be able to provide them with useful feedback on the major.

I am now going to u$e the late$t breakthrough$ in $ubliminal me$$aging to convince you that I am the mo$t qualified for thi$ po$ition.

The truth is, making numbers add up is easy. It's putting forth new ideas, making compromises that everyone is happy with, and serving the larger goal as a mediator between students and faculty that are the really important additional duties that every board member will hopefully try to achieve. That I will try to achieve.

I want to join the BE Board because I am passionate about Course 20. I mean, we essentially get to define the major. It's our baby. So let's do it right and make everyone who spends their 4 years doing something else wish they had gotten in on not only the most fun major but also the future course of technology. Biology is life and the rest is just chemistry and physics. But Biological Engineering is about making life awesome!


Renuka Ramanathan
Hello all! My name is Renuka Ramanathan and I am a sophomore, class of 2010, in Course 20 (of course)! As Course 20 is an exponentially growing major at MIT, I feel that the BE undergraduate board is an imperative part of the Institute's commitment to excellence and continual improvement. Being a proud Course 20 student, I would like to contribute to the major by doing my part in helping the BEUB find new and novel ways to promote a close knit relationship between all the Course 20 undergraduates.

As such, I would like to run for the position of Secretary on the BE Undergraduate Board. I joined the BE Undergraduate Board just a few weeks ago, and although my time spent with the rest of the board has been limited, I have had the opportunity to interact with people and discuss what I feel are very important aspects of undergraduate life at MIT. I would like to continue my involvement with events planning, feedback with curriculum design, and all the other aspects/issues/events that the BEUB takes apart in.

With regard to experience, I have been on MIT's Technology Fair for the last 2 years, and this year, held the position of Academic Relations Director. This involves inviting national and international labs to participate at MIT's Technology Fair and having very precise organizational skills. Also, I have Technology Fair has given me much exposure to the kind of logistics, thought, and time it takes to run a large scale event. As Secretary, I would ensure that BE activities run smoothly and that BE students are well informed about opportunities by attending all meetings, emailing out meeting minutes, and staying in frequent contact with any parties involved in a specific event. In addition, I am interested in helping students network with each other, graduate students, and professors and will be prepared to come up with ideas on how best to do this. Finally, I am a compulsive email checker, which is always an excellent quality for a Secretary! :)

I look forward to getting to know everyone and will appreciate your vote for the BE Undergraduate Secretary.

Maryelise Cieslewicz

Maryelise Cieslewicz

Hi Biological Engineering Students!

My name is Maryelise Cieslewicz. I am currently a sophomore in BE and I love Biological Engineering! Since it’s clear to all of us that course 20 is, of course, the best major at MIT, I can see why its enrollment is increasing every year! I feel that the BE undergraduate board is an integral part of course 20’s growth and would love to work with you to ensure BE’s place at MIT. This is why I am running for secretary of the BE undergraduate board.

As secretary I would take my responsibilities to take good notes, send emails and organize events seriously. For the past year, I worked as the publicity chair for the Society of Women Engineers, so I have experience in working with others on a board, remaining organized, and meeting deadlines. But I think I can bring more to the BE board than just this skill set. I have a lot of ideas on how to connect more to freshmen still deciding which major to pursue, how to create more unity and mentorship between the BE graduating classes, and how to broaden our reach by getting BE board involved with other organizations on campus. For example, BE board could create dorm representatives to act as a resource to freshmen to answer questions about course 20 classes. Furthermore, BE upperclassmen could attend advising meetings and dinners so that freshmen and sophomores in BE can talk to other students, in addition to faculty, about choosing classes. I know that advice from older friends in BE helped me transition more easily into course 20 this fall. I have many more ideas, but I’d also love to hear the ideas other course 20’ers have to share.

I enjoyed meeting more course 20 sophomores this fall in 20.110 and can’t wait to meet other BE students to hear more about the exciting direction they want course 20 to take. I’d really appreciate your vote for the secretary of the BE undergraduate board. Thank you!